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three peeps say WHAT?!?

Mega-Meta 4 Category Recap: "WHAT?!"

Sometimes things slip into a Bad Film which were clearly not meant to be there--we explored that in our last category, "Whoops!" Now it’s time to trot out "Whoops!"'s promiscuous, brain-damaged sister: "WHAT?!" (pronounced with an air of loud incredulity). The "WHAT?!" Award goes to that scene which not just stretches that strand of suspended B-Movie disbelief, but severs it like, oh, a chainsaw through butter.

The distinguishing feature of a "WHAT?!" is that it always depicts something that the filmmakers wanted us to see--we just never wanted to see it. It is the zombie fire-fighter, the aliens in our soup, the angel who rescues the documentary film-maker, and the three-headed gosling that moos in the night.

So if the sound you just heard was an involuntary scream that ripped from your own throat, chances are you just watched a "WHAT?!"

2007: Death By Dialogue (1988) [Smithee Link]
2008: Creepers (1985) [Smithee Link]
2009: The Monster of Camp Sunshine (1964) [Smithee Link]
2010: Tiger Love (1977) [Smithee Link]
2011: Flash Future Kung Fu (1983) [Smithee Link]

Death by Dialogue (1988) The "bad guy" in this film is an evil script. Well, yes, they're all evil, but this script is MAGICALLY evil. Our victim-to-be just had sex in a barn with a hottie, to some heavy metal riffs on the soundtrack. So why is he so confused as he wanders the woods afterward? Well, for one thing, said hottie was just bodily pulled through the barn wall by some mysterious force. For another, the soundtrack music isn't on the soundtrack: An honest-to-Satan 80's-style glam rock hair band is actually doing a gig in the middle of the woods. As our guy stands there gaping (wouldn't you?), the lead guitarist splits his head open with his (har har) "axe!"

Creepers (1985) Jennifer Connelly stars in this, one of her first roles. It's probably only due to her amazing hotness that it wasn't her last. She's a sleepwalker, and in this scene, she takes a doozy of a nighttime stroll: She sleepwalks onto a ledge, witnesses a bizarre murder as someone's head comes crashing through the glass literally right in front of her, drops through a hole in the ledge, dangles from her nightgown, and then plummets somehow unhurt to the ground. Still somehow asleep, she wanders in a daze into the road, then gets hit by a car. She tumbles from the car, stares at some bugs, then meets up with a real-live chimpanzee.

The Monster of Camp Sunshine (1964) Is there such a thing as Too Much of a Mediocre Thing? How about Stock Footage? Toward the end of this flick, the local military commander has been called in to help deal with a "monster," who's really just a crazy guy. The "monster" ducks left. The local military commander points. GIs land at Normandy. A photographer grabs a pistol and starts shooting. The "monster" ducks right. Anti-aircraft shells explode in the night. A half-naked woman appears, just to break up the monotony. GIs scramble under barbed wire. The cavalry rides in. The "monster" looks around in confusion. So do we. At long (long) long last, we see a shot of the "monster" on the ground dead, and a recap of the whole film begins. Huh. Guess they got him.

Tiger Love (1977) Ancient Chinese legend has it that if a maiden kisses a tiger, the tiger will become her slave. Well, this particular maiden peed on her tiger, which evidently still counts as a "kiss" either because tigers can't spell or because some tigers just swing that way. In its way, Uncle Tiger must have loved the woman, because it goes more than a little nuts when she dies. After it kills some guards, the tiger suddenly speaks! To nobody in particular! Then the picture of the tiger freeze-frames for I-kid-you-not at least two full minutes of screen-time while there's a rambling voice-over worse than anything by Joyce or Kerouac. "I have killed my 100th person!" it exults. The prize? "Tonight I will turn into an old lady!" A full transcript here would be as pointless as it would be incomprehensible. You'll have to listen to it yourself. Better yet: Don't.

Flash Future Kung Fu (1983) The hero contracts rabies (don't ask). His brother takes him to a doctor who specializes in what could best be described as "Non-Traditional" Traditional Eastern Medicine. First, the "doctor" produces a dead chicken, which he shakes over the patient. Then he makes the stricken man guzzle a gallon of water (or perhaps its vodka?), and then there's therapy with a snake. All the while we see him doing zany dances and there are interspersed scenes of him playing a video game. Getting the high score must be vital to the treatment, because eventually it works!